Asahi Kasei to accelerate trials for commercialization of polyamide 66 made using biomass-derived intermediate
Asahi Kasei has formed a strategic partnership with USbased Genomatica regarding hexamethylenediamine (HMD) based on biomass-derived raw materials (bio-HMD).
Asahi Kasei currently uses fossil fuel–derived HMD as an intermediate to manufacture Leona™ polyamide 66, an engineering plastic featuring outstanding heat resistance and rigidity. Polyamide 66 is used for plastic parts in automotive and electronics applications, as well as yarn for airbag fabric. Demand for polyamide 66 is expected to increase worldwide. As the world moves toward carbon neutrality, attention is increasingly focused on solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from chemical products derived from fossil fuels. The strategic alliance with Genomatica provides Asahi Kasei with preferential rights to access the early volume of bio-HMD to evaluate the possibility as a feedstock of polyamide 66, enabling Asahi Kasei to accelerate trials of polyamide 66 made using biomass-derived intermediate. Genomatica has an established track record of commercializing manufacturing technology for various chemical products using biotechnology. By using this bio-HMD with its own polyamide 66 polymerization technology, Asahi Kasei aims to support its goal to be first-to-market with more sustainable polyamide 66 made using biomass-derived intermediate for the automotive and electronics application of plastics components and industrial fiber.
The main types of polyamide are polyamide 66 and polyamide 6, which have different chemical structures. With superior heat resistance and strength, polyamide 66 is widely used in industrial applications such as automotive and electronics. Polyamide 6 is widely used as apparel fiber.
Various types of Leona™ polyamide: In addition to polyamide 66, polyamide 6I, and polyamide 612 made using HMD, Asahi Kasei manufactures polyamide 610 using intermediate derived from castor oil. Asahi Kasei is the only polyamide 66 manufacturer in Asia with fully integrated production from raw materials to resin compounds, supplying material suited to various needs ranging from plastic moldings for automotive and electronics applications to airbag yarn and fabric, and tire cord.
Asahi Kasei expects that this use of biotechnology will contribute to reaching its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, while also alleviating the environmental burden throughout the life cycle of customers’ products. Asahi Kasei will continue to strive for adoption of biomass-derived intermediates for its engineering plastics in addition to polyamide 66, while proactively utilizing recycled material, aiming to be a global sustainable partner for its customers.
Genomatica is harnessing biology to remake widely used products and materials built by and for the planet. The company is developing and scaling sustainable materials used across key industries that are derived from plant- or waste-based feedstocks instead of fossil fuels, helping brands and their supply chains deliver on their climate goals and transparency objectives. Genomatica has already commercialized sustainable materials used in plastics and cosmetics, and is working on plant-based nylon, household cleaners and more. To learn more, visit genomatica.com.
About Asahi Kasei Corporation
Asahi Kasei Corporation is a globally active diversified technology company with operations in the Material, Homes, and Health Care business sectors. The Material sector encompasses fibers & textiles, petrochemicals, performance polymers, performance materials, consumables, battery separators, and electronic devices. The Homes sector provides housing and construction materials to the Japanese market. The Health Care sector includes pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and acute critical care devices and systems. With more than 44,000 employees around the world, the Asahi Kasei Group serves customers in more than 100 countries and achieved sales of 17.3 billion euros (2,106 billion yen) in the fiscal year 2020 (April 1, 2020 – March 31, 2021).
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